Blood donations are still important, especially during a pandemic
With COVID-19. a lot has changed. What hasn’t changed is the need to donate blood.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put the world on hold. It changed everyone’s lives drastically in every way.
Under COVID-19 many restrictions were put into place to stop the spread of the virus. In Newfoundland and Labrador, alert levels were introduced that provided guidelines about how people would work and live during the pandemic.
Given the restrictions and regulations, it was uncertain how blood donation would proceed.
Canadian Blood Services in Newfoundland and Labrador has put in place protocols such as mask-wearing, temperature-checking and social distancing since the beginning of the pandemic.
Gordon Skiffington of Canadian Blood Services says so far the institution has been able to keep up with the collection and distribution of blood products.
“There have been no patient impacts due to COVID,” Skiffington said. “We’ve been able to collect and distribute the required units for hospital patients.”
In a normal year, the blood donor clinic would need 14,000 units to meet local patient need in the province.
“Certain time of the year demand increases.” said Skiffington, territory manager for donor donations in Newfoundland and Labrador. “What we’ve seen over the last year, people haven’t been travelling around the province and so demand has decreased a little and elective procedures were postponed.”
The need for blood, however, is always there.
“We need all blood types and all various different components every single day of the year,” said Skiffington.
Like Skiffington, Morley Reid of Blaketown sees the importance of donating blood.
Reid started donating in 1967 in his second year of university. He has donated 632 times.
“I have in my lifetime been blessed with not having any complications with giving blood,” Reid said. “It has little to no effect on me; the only kind of effect it has on me is a positive one: I feel better after I donate.”
Reid donates because he believes that others benefit from it. He has even had the opportunity to learn about some of the people who benefit from the donations.
“Because of my donations and others, people who need this are able to lead rather healthy lives,” said Reid.
Having been a blood donor for years, Reid recognizes the difficulty in trying to recruit new donors to give blood, this can be especially true since COVID-19 hit.
“One of the reasons it’s a challenge to attract donors is that people live busy lives, and to give up an hour of their time, can be very challenging,” said Reid.
Despite the challenges organizations have faced due to COVID-19, the Canadian Blood Services has been able to meet demand.
“A lot of family events and gatherings are not happening, so what a better time for somebody to book an appointment to go donate blood and help save someone’s life,” said Skiffington.